(Ed. Note: Our series "Puck Daddy's Guilty Pleasures" features puckheads from all walks of life answering questions about their own hockey-related guilty pleasures. It will run daily during the month of August. Have a suggestion for a "Guilty Pleasures" guest blogger? Hit us on email. Enjoy!)
Today's Special Guest: Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy's associate editor and the man you can find on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy.
1. The Player You Most Love To Hate
This guy has played for all 30 NHL teams. He frustrates you on a regular basis. He always leaves you wondering. You love to hate him.
He's the guy that has all the talent in the world, but for whatever reason decides to pick his spots and take it upon himself to choose when he wants to give 110-percent. And for that, he leaves you, the fan, frustrated, angry and thinking why can't he show up every night instead of once every 10 games or so.
2. Other Than Your Own, The Team You Can't Help Rooting For
I went to college in Fort Lauderdale, so I was subjected to a lot of Florida Panthers games in the early 2000s with no Center Ice in my dorm and only the random assortment of ESPN games available. After a while, the brainwashing eventually turned saw me following the Cats on a regular basis, attending 10-15 games a season and rooting for them when they weren't playing the Penguins.
I remember the last time Florida was in the playoffs; Pavel Bure scoring goals No. 49 and 50; Darius Kasparaitis landing a smooch on the penalty box attendant's bald head when shown on the "Kiss Cam", and that one time when Stanley C. Panther attempted to hit on my then-girlfriend.
It's been a downward spiral for the team ever since I moved away from South Florida, but considering I probably watched more Panthers games than Penguins game during my time there, I can't help but think this is the year that the Panthers turn it around. (I've also been saying that for nine years running now.)
3. Favorite Fight or Brawl of All-Time
How can you top Vincent Lecavalier versus Jarome Iginla in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final? Two captains Two leaders taking it upon themselves to change the momentum of a game and inspire their teammates.
4. The Hideous-Looking Hockey Jersey You Secretly Love The Most
The St. Louis Blues' alternates that never came to fruition. They're horrendous, but also make me think it would fit in nicely with the Pro Beach Hockey league that was featured prominently during afternoons in the 90s on ESPN2.
5. Your Favorite Hockey Cliché (terminology, traditions, announcer-speak, etc.)
"Upper/Lower body injury". NHL teams have decided to mask where specific injuries are from other teams so their players aren't targeted when they get back in the lineup. It's not like anyone can go on YouTube or NHL.com and see video of the injury to figure it out themselves. And if a tough guy really wanted to target a guy, he could just continually focus on the entire "upper" or "lower" part of the body on a player.
And if NHL teams like using "upper/lower body injury" to protect players, why do we know when every player has a concussion?
6. The Injury You Couldn't Stop Staring At (Non-Skate Lacerations Only)
Aside from the time former Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jason Kendall rolled his ankle and the bone broke the skin, any time a player goes skates first into the boards always makes me cringe. I think of how Pat Peake's career was derailed and also what happened to Kurtis Foster.
7. Your Favorite Cheesy Hockey Reference in Popular Culture
I've always appreciated the use of the goalie masks in the opening robbery scene from "Heat", but Wayne Gretzky on Saturday Night Live in the Waikiki Hockey skit is just the tops.
8. Your Favorite Terrible Hockey Card Or Hockey Action Figure
Wendel Clark's Be A Player card. I've been told for years by Down Goes Brown that Wendel was the toughest sonofagun ever and then I remind myself that he allowed this photo to be taken with this pose. I look at this card and think I could take Wendel. Then I realize he did this and I go back to filling my top loaders.
9. Finally, What's The Thing You Secretly Respect Gary Bettman For The Most?
How he's managed to not snap once in 18 years on the job after taking the amount of crap he gets on a daily basis, most of which is for stuff that he doesn't have control of or is just doing out of the wishes of his bosses, the NHL's owners.